(1) This Procedure was approved by Academic Board on 2 July 2013 and incorporates all amendments to 13 September 2016.
(2) This Procedure includes the following schedules:
(3) To outline the procedure for assessment for higher degrees by research (HDR).
(4) This Procedure applies to students for HDR, their supervisors, faculties, institutes and University administrators. It does not apply to degrees by coursework or higher doctoral degrees.
(5) This Procedure is pursuant to the Regulation 5.3(3) — Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Degrees by Research and the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Policy.
(6) HDR students are assessed as follows:
(7) Written components of the thesis must be in English.
(8) The principal supervisor must inform Deakin Research at least three months before the examination if the examination includes an exhibition or performance.
(9) Students may include externally-published work in their thesis. Where these publications include authors in addition to the student, the student must identify their own contribution to the work and complete an Authorship Statement.
(10) Any part of a thesis submitted for another award must be identified and should not be considered as part of the thesis.
(11) Thesis material presented via the internet (such as the development of a web page) must be in a form which does not enable modification during the examination process.
(12) Students must provide notice of their intention to submit their thesis for examination using Deakin's HDR examination system.
(13) Students must prepare their written thesis component for examination in accordance with the format, content, word limits and other requirements prescribed by Deakin Research.
(14) The thesis must be approved as ready for submission by the principal or executive supervisor and the Head of Academic Unit or nominee. Deakin Research must approve the administrative requirements of the thesis.
(15) Students are wholly responsible for the content and submission of the thesis for examination.
(16) Students may apply to submit their thesis for examination despite any advice from their principal or executive supervisor that it is not ready for submission. In such a case, the student, supervisor and the Head of Academic Unit will be notified via the online examination system of further actions required under clause 17.
(17) Within one week of notification under clause 16 the student and the principal or executive supervisor must each make a 1-2 page written case to the Head of Academic Unit explaining why they believe the thesis is or is not ready for submission and examination.
(18) Within two weeks of the written cases being submitted, the Head of Academic Unit will establish a committee of three staff comprising:
(19) The committee considers the two written cases and the submitted thesis. Within two weeks of receipt of the written cases the Chair of the committee must provide a brief written statement to the student and supervisor recommending that:
(20) If the committee determines that the thesis be examined against the recommendation of the supervisor, the committee will be responsible for nominating of examiners, normally within four weeks of the recommendation.
(21) If additional work must be completed, the thesis must be approved as ready for examination by the committee Chair prior to it being submitted again using the online examination system.
(22) After receipt of a notification of intent to submit the thesis, the principal or executive supervisor will nominate at least four examiners who will meet the following requirements:
(23) Where four experienced examiners at the required level cannot be found, up to one examiner without experience of examining at the level of the degree being sought may be nominated.
(24) The Head of Academic Unit will approve the nomination of examiners.
(25) Students may submit a statement to the Thesis Examination Subcommittee via the relevant HDR Adviser giving reasons why a specified person ought not to be appointed as an examiner.
(26) The Thesis Examination Subcommittee will appoint at least three independent and appropriately qualified external examiners, selected from the four nominated by the Head of the Academic Unit.
(27) All communication with the appointed examiners about the examination must be undertaken by Deakin Research (DR).
(28) The names of examiners are not released to the student until after a decision on the examination outcome has been determined, and subject to the agreement of the examiners, unless the oral thesis examination process applies.
(29) The examiners will assess the thesis.
(30) Examiners will provide a written assessment of the thesis in accordance with a form approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Development and Training (PVCRDT) which specifies relevant standards and criteria consistent with the Higher Education Standards Framework and which demonstrates an original contribution to knowledge. For a doctoral applicant, this contribution must be significant. Examiners will recommend one of the outcomes specified in clause 42.
(31) Where an oral thesis examination has not taken place, the Head of the relevant Academic Unit will consider examiners' reports from the examination of the thesis and, in consultation with the principal or executive supervisor, make a recommendation on the outcome of the examination according to clause 42 to the Thesis Examination Subcommittee.
(32) Where an oral thesis examination has taken place, the panel, via the Panel Chair, will make a recommendation on the outcome of the examination according to clause 42 to the Thesis Examination Subcommittee.
(33) The Thesis Examination Subcommittee will consider the examiners' reports, and recommendation of the Head of the relevant Academic Unit or Panel Chair of the oral thesis examination panel and determine an outcome based on those reports. The Subcommittee is not obliged to follow the recommendation of the Head of Academic Unit or Panel Chair.
(34) At least two examiners must support the thesis at the level of the degree being sought before the Thesis Examination Subcommittee can pass the examination. For students enrolled in a doctoral degree, where the thesis is not of an appropriate standard for a doctoral degree but fulfils the criteria for the passing of an examination for a masters degree, it must have the support for this by at least two examiners.
(35) If consistent reports are received from two examiners, and the Head of Academic Unit recommends that the examination be passed, the Thesis Examination Subcommittee is not required to wait for the third examiner's report and may proceed to make a decision on the outcome.
(36) If further reports are provided after the Thesis Examination Subcommittee decision but prior to the submission of the library copy of the thesis, the report will be provided to the student in addition to those which have been provided already. The report may be used in making any revisions required but is not considered in determining the outcome of the examination.
(37) The Thesis Examination Subcommittee may, in exceptional cases, set aside an examiner's recommendation on any of the following grounds:
(38) An examiner's recommendation or report can only be set aside or dismissed by a quorate meeting of the Thesis Examination Subcommittee.
(39) Where the Thesis Examination Subcommittee determines to set aside the recommendation of an examiner it may appoint an adjudicator in consultation with the Head of the Academic Unit to advise on the process or outcome of the examination. The adjudicator must be an expert in the field of the thesis and external to the University.
(40) The adjudicator will be provided with a copy of the thesis as submitted for examination (or both versions in the case of a re-examination) and all examiners' reports. The adjudicator will not provide an additional examiner's report, but will evaluate the existing examiners' reports and recommendations and make a recommendation to the Thesis Examination Subcommittee as to the outcome of the examination.
(41) The Thesis Examination Subcommittee is not bound to follow the recommendation of the adjudicator.
(42) The Thesis Examination Subcommittee will determine the outcome of the examination. Deakin Research will advise the student in writing and provide copies of the examiners' reports and the recommendation of the Head of Academic Unit. The outcome will be one of the following:
(43) If the Thesis Examination Subcommittee determines that a thesis is to be re-examined, the student will be limited to one re-examination. The student will resubmit the thesis by the deadline set by Deakin Research, which will be no later than 12 months after the student is notified of the results from the first examination.
(44) Where a thesis is re-examined, the re-submitted thesis will be sent back to the examiners making the request for re-examination. Where an original examiner is unable to act, a replacement examiner will be appointed to examine the revised thesis. The replacement examiner will be sent only the revised version of the thesis, and not the prior examiners' reports.
(45) The examination may be passed if the thesis has the support of two examiners through the combined first examination and re-examination processes.
(46) There is no option for further examination unless there is cause to set aside an examiner's report as described above, or there is a major procedural irregularity in the process.
(47) (47) The final thesis must:
(48) Students are required to submit an electronic copy of the final thesis with Deakin Research through the online HDR examination system for lodgement with the Office of the University Librarian.
(49) Students may elect to allow access to their entire thesis via Deakin Research Online, or limit access to the thesis citation, abstract and metadata only. Where access via Deakin Research Online is limited to the citation, abstract and metadata, the Library will make individual digital copies available for consultation, loan and limited copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).
(50) The student may apply to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research or nominee to defer publication or restrict access to a thesis for a limited period of time to facilitate the commercial exploitation of material or for other compelling reasons according to Schedule B: Restricted access to thesis.
(51) Following advice from the Thesis Examination Subcommittee and lodgement of the final thesis, the Research and Research Training Committee will recommend students who have successfully completed the thesis examination process and completed all other assessable course requirements to Academic Board for award of the relevant degree.
(52) A student may appeal the decision of the Thesis Examination Subcommittee to the University Appeals Committee by lodging a notice of appeal with the Secretary to the Academic Board within 20 working days of being notified of the decision. The notice of appeal must state the grounds for appeal and must be accompanied by a written submission that addresses the grounds for appeal and includes any relevant documentary or other evidence. The grounds of appeal will be confined to one or more of the following:
(53) Appeals by students rejecting the academic assessment of the merit of their work are not permitted.
(54) The appeal will be conducted in the same manner as set out in relevant provisions in clauses 33 to 61 of the Academic Progress Procedure.
(55) For HDR appeals, the University Appeals Committee will include suitably qualified members who have experience of HDR supervision and/or management.
(56) Decisions of the University Appeals Committee are final and binding and there is no further avenue for appeal within the University.
(57) For the purpose of this Procedure: